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Non-Review Review: Futurama – Into the Wild Green Yonder

Interesting. It seems that Futurama has somehow (presumably unconsciously) incorporated one of the central features from its key sources, the Star Trek franchise. It’s frequently asserted by fans of that series that the television show spawned a rather inconsistent movies series. Some, such as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, could stand tall and be measured along the best movies that science-fiction could offer; while others, notable Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (in which Kirk kills God in a story pitched and directed by William Shatner), were actually terrible. The consensus emerged that the even numbered sequels were great and the odd numbered movies were terrible. This is just a run of thumb, and it’s possible it has been reversed (the tenth movie, Star Trek: Nemesis, was pretty disappointing; the eleventh, Star Trek, was a blast of fresh air) or even completely deconstructed. While none of the four Futurama movies are “terrible” or even “bad”, the distinction between the “okay” and the “great” seems to fall on similar lines. The first and third, Bender’s Big Score and Bender’s Game, weren’t great, while the second and fourth, The Beast With A Billion Backs and Into the Wild Green Yonder, perfectly capture all that was great about the show.

Here we go-go again...

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Non-Review Review: Futurama – Bender’s Game

You could make the arguement that the first two Futurama movies – Bender’s Big Score and The Beast With A Billion Backs – cast their nets particularly widely in charting the universe the show had been cultivating for four years before it went off the air, perhaps drawing in more threads than it was fair to assume that an hour-and-a-half movie could handle. So Bender’s Game might seem a relief in that regard. It’s a relatively tightly-focused tale, involving a small subset of the show’s many, many characters. However, in doing so, it never really seems to justify why it’s a bigger and longer tale. Indeed, it could just as easily have been two shorter ones.

A Knight to Remember...

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Non-Review Review: Futurama – The Beast With A Billion Backs

I wasn’t overly impressed with the first of the Futurama movies, Bender’s Big Score. It was grand, and a wonderful emotional kick made it worth watching, but it felt very insular and a little too random in its execution – built around in-jokes and clever ideas discarded after five minutes or so. Somewhat paradoxically, it felt more like a “final” episode than the “first” of anything, let alone a welcome to this new format for the show. So I was more than a bit relieved to discover that The Beast With A Billion Backs was a far more consistent viewing experience, but also one which felt a lot more like a regular episode of the show, just stretched to two hours. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

... And Zoidberg, too!

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Non-Review Review: Futurama – Bender’s Big Score

If only all cancelled shows had the same good fortune as Futurama. After being taken off the air, the show was shopped around a bit, before coming back as a series of four two-hour movies (which could, conveniently for the network, could be split into sixteen episodes – four episodes per movie). The first of the movie’s – Bender’s Big Score – seems an interesting choice to open the specials. Rather than being framed as a re-introduction to the series, designed to attract new fans and effectively act as a second pilot for the show, instead it’s clearly intended as something of a valentine to existing fans.

It's good to be back...

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